Wednesday, March 9, 2016

AU-IBAR, World Bank others raised concerns on the marginalization of the fisheries sector

This event- Fisheries Communications Workshop on Harnessing the Power of Media to Raise Awareness on the issues of the African Fisheries Sector- is the culmination of enormous collective efforts which began with conceptualization of the idea by World Bank team in collobration with AU-IBAR and many other institutions that contributed in one form or another towards the organisation of the workshop says Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer AU-IBAR.

Dr. Seisay was reading a statement on behalf of the AU-IBAR Director at the official opening ceremony of the 29th February-4th March, 2016 African Journalists for Sustainable Fisheries Workshop held in Elmina, Ghana which gathered more than 140 journalists- newspapers, TV, radios and online from 40 African countries.

Giving a brief overview of the African union institute, the co-convener of the workshop said the inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is a speacilized technical office of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission and has been in existence since 1951 with main focus on animal production and health issues, livestock, fisheries and wildlife as resources for both human wellbeing and economic development in the Member States of the African Union.

His words: “This workshop is timely and has come at a time when serious concerns are nutured on the marginalization of the sector as compared to other agricultural sector including crops and livestock.

“ The fisheries sector currently provides employment for over 12 million citizens, a source for relatively cheap animal protein with a huge potential to contribute to economic growth of AU member states. These current benefits can be secured and increased massively with the imlpementation of the best practices and  for good governance of the sector. Some of the enduring challenges in the sector include rampant Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, poor coordination, inadequate governance instruments (policies and legislations), weak investment etc.”

Recalling, Dr. Seisay stated that the conference of African ministers for fisheries and Aquaculture recognized these challenges and charged the African Union to formulate a pan fisheries and aquaculture African policy framework to ensure coherent in the management of the sector for increased contribution to food security, livelihoods and wealth.

According to him, the African Union was also charged to put a mechanism for co-ordination in the sector. As you may be aware, the pan African fisheries and aquaculture policy framework was endorsed by the summit of African Heads of States and Governments in Malabo June 2014 as a blueprint for African’s fisheries and aquaculture sector development. Similarly the African Fisheries Reform Mechanism was adopted by the conference of African Ministeries in october 2015, Addis 
Ababa as a mechanism to deliver in the fisheries and aquaculture sector .

The Policy Framework and the Reform Strategy, Dr. Seisay explained, identify seven key policy objectives (and as well as cross-cutting issues) as critical to Africa’s fisheries development.

One of the key policy pillars, he stated, is on Awareness enhancing and human-capacity development, the objective of which is to increase awareness of the potential and importance of the sector and enhanced capacity of people and institutions in the African fisheries sector to ensure sustainable development of capture fisheries and aquaculture, based on current and emerging trends, challenges and needs.

He went further to say that the Policy Framework acknowledged that fisheries has a major challenge due to capacity issues and awareness hence coordination in the fisheries sector for expeditious development of the sector in Africa thus includes popularization of the Pan Afriacan fisheries policy framework and global fisheries management instruments to facilitate their internalization and coherence in Africa fisheries management and development endeavors towards increased contibution to food security, livelihood and wealth.

The fourth estate (media)- “you will therefore agree with me that there is a strong need to develop clear communication strategies for engaging various actors including policy makers, different gender groups, civil-society organisations and the private sector for issues in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development in Africa.”

“We at African Union, have come a long way and we will not relent in our efforts in embracing new initiatives to re-position African Fisheries and Aguaculture in providing source of livelihood to the rural poor, employment for our youths and women, improved nutrition and wealth for African nations.”

In this sense, this first meeting of the journalists is taking on a transcendential role for the furture of fisheries reform straegies in africa.

Resulting from this assembly, will positively contribute to the consolidation of the aims of the fisheries reform initiatives in africa and thereby to the philosophy underlying it.

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